New guy Savannah, GA area...anyone near by?

edited March 2015 in Introduction

Hey all,

I’m very new to this hobby and will most likely have many questions. I did my research and decided on a SD 4” bubble cap Dash. I’m hoping I didn’t bite off more than I can chew but didn’t want to waste money on something I might “outgrow” in a year or so. There is so much to learn and so much info written on this hobby. The forums are a great resource and I have spent what ever free time I have reading on this subject.

I have cleaned my still with a vinegar and water wash and ran a sacrificial cheap box wine and water wash through it too. Now I am fermenting a UJSSM which is separated into two 5.5 gallon(20L) fermenters. The first fermenter is 7 lbs of cracked corn and 1.5 lbs of malted barley along with 7 lbs of brown sugar topped off with distilled water to make up the 5.5 gallons. then pitched the yeast and yeast nutrients at 74F. The second fermenter is similar except I gave a go at converting some corn to fermentable sugar. I heated 2.5 gallons of RO water to 165F added 5 lbs cracked corn stirred for 10 minutes and then stirred off and on over the next 20 minutes. Then reduced the temp to 145F added 1.5 lbs malted barley to convert the starch to sugar and put all that in a cooler to maintain the temp for 90 minutes. Then put the mash grains and all into the second fermenter added 4 lbs brown sugar and 2 lbs cracked corn and cooled to 94F pitched the distillers yeast and yeast nutrients. First fermenter had a OG of 1.068 and second one had OG of 1.060 with both at a PH of 5.0. When they are done bubbling I’ll do a stripping run on both of them and store the low wines in a glass carboy until I can ferment 40L more and strip that to add to it, to do a spirit run. Does this process seem OK?

I also have some questions:

  1. Do you need to have any cooper in the vapor path during a stripping run?

  2. How long can you keep a 7%-10% wash around before distilling? What’s best way to store it?

  3. Is it bad practice to ferment on grains?

  4. Do you take foreshots from a stripping run?

  5. Do you add sodium Bicarb to low wines a few days to week before a spirit run?

  6. How good a whisk(e)y, rum, vodka, gin… can an average hobby distiller make? Evan Williams (not that great), Jack Daniels (middle of the road) or something comparable to Roses small or single batch (which I quite enjoy)

  7. Anyone in the Savannah area?

I’d like to ask questions about aging but I’ll save that for another post.

Sorry for the long newbie post. I just have so much I want to learn and have so many questions. Thanks all!


  • I'm no expert by any means, but I DO have opinions. Other more experienced stillers will also chime in.

    1. You can, but not necessary.

    2. They will keep for a long time provided that you don't let nasty stuff get into them (keep it sealed up)

    3. Absolutely not! Most, including me, count on it for extra flavor.

    4. Up to the distiller. I always do because it can't hurt and it is such a small volume.

    5. Not on an UJSSM wash. Pretty much for neutrals/vodka.

    6. Once you get good, you can come close to the best of the best.

    7. Sorry, brother. I'm about 5 hours south of you.

    One thing I would add is that the brown sugar will give you more of a rum flavor. My UJ has somewhat of a rum flavor anyway and I use white sugar.

    Good luck!

  • thanks @FloridaCracker I really do appreciate the help! I didn't think about the use of brow sugar over white. When I do the next batch I'm going to use white sugar.

  • edited March 2015

    It is not outside the realm of possibility that an amateur distiller create a product that rivals or exceeds a commercial product. However, we can't cheat time.

    Unfortunately, the best time to have laid down a barrel was 15 years ago. The good news, though, is that the next best time is right now.

  • edited March 2015

    I hear that @grim!

  • edited March 2015

    A hobby distiller can definitely exceed commercial products! Most fine spirits our Austrian micro distillers produce are way better than the commercial stuff, that's what various fine spirits awards (like The Golden Jigger at farmers fair AB HOF in Wieselburg / Lower Austria, which just took place this weekend) confirm.

    StillDragon Europe - Your StillDragon® Distributor for Europe & the surrounding area

  • edited March 2015

    That's great to hear @SDeurope! Will make the hobby even more rewarding to me as I get better!

  • Just thought of something; You are making whiskey, right? If using the UJSSM for a neutral, some of the info I previously posted won't be correct.

  • Yes I am doing a whiskey.

Sign In or Register to comment.